Bird Box Isn’t Taking Out Controversial Footage Of Real-Life Train Disaster

Sandra Bullock as a blindfolded Malorie holding Julian Edwards as Boy in Bird Box
(Image credit: (Netflix))

No wonder over 80 million households have tuned into Netflix's Bird Box, it's quite the controversy magnet! Following the unfortunate Bird Box Challenge trend that swept over the internet shortly after the film's release, here's another one: Bird Box includes actual footage of a 2013 train tragedy in Quebec and some Canadians have expressed their disapproval.

Real-life footage of the Lac-Megantic train disaster that killed 47 people is featured in a short scene in the beginning of Bird Box, when Sarah Paulson and Sandra Bullock's characters turn on the television and see a series of news reports of unexplained chaos in Europe. The tragedy occurred when an unattended train carrying crude oil fell off the tracks while going down an incline and exploded.

Netflix has decided not to take out the clip from their film, despite the town's mayor, Julie Morin recently calling the use of the footage a "lack of respect".

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix said they have no plans to remove the clip but acknowledge their fault and will look to do things differently moving forward. The same footage was also featured in another Netflix title, the recently released third season of Travelers in December.

The streaming giant licensed the footage from stock image vendor Pond 5, who has apologized and said the footage was "taken out of context" by Netflix.

Critics of the footage have taken to Twitter to argue Bird Box may trigger PTSD and other victimization, especially for those who remember the incident or had loved ones involved in the wreck.

Canadians are understandably angry about the whole situation, especially for those who watched a tragic memory randomly flood on to their screens without warning. Filmmakers at Netflix were just looking for footage to simulate the situation of the film and the repercussions likely didn't cross their minds.

This isn't the first time Netflix has had to do some damage control on a controversy surrounding Bird Box. Following in the footsteps of the film's premise, people started putting on blindfolds and trying to complete tasks for the memes. It produced some hilarious videos, but when some indicated it to be rather dangerous, Netflix stepped in with a warning to not attempt it.

Unfortunately, the Bird Box Challenge didn't stop there. A teenager caused a car accident after attempting to drive blindfolded, thankfully no human injuries resulted.

One would think that Netflix should not have to come out and say "don't drive while you're blindfolded" but here we are folks. Sandra Bullock even admitted to running into the camera a few times even with some extensive training to walk while blindfolded.

Netflix's controversial and record-breaking Bird Box is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.